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Declarations from the Royals Court: A wild draw that feels like a win

Hey, it’s 2020 and there is finally some soccer. That’s pretty great.

Soccer: NWSL Challenge Cup-Houston Dash vs Utah Royals FC Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

2020 has come and terrified us all, but here now there is soccer, so that’s kind of nice?

The Royals had an offseason full of a little bit of change in a whole lot of places. Gone is Laura Harvey, Becca Moros, and Mandy Laddish, and in their places are some rookies and Craig Harrington in their places.

No one knew what to expect from the NWSL Challenge Cup, but oh boy, did we get one heck of a Royals match to open their bid to be the champions. Let’s begin, shall we?

The Declarations

Diana Matheson, or Diana Beverly Matheson if you prefer, has gotten her groove back.

Matheson has been hurt for what feels like years at this point. It was always something that seemed small, that somehow lingered and prevented her from taking the field.

The hands of time seemed well and truly turned back for the double Olympic bronze medalist in the Royals’ first game. Not only did she have a goal, but she played like her days in the starting XI for the Washington Spirit back in 2016. She had great field vision, had a bit of cheeky energy with Jane Campbell, and had all of the X factors that can make her such a great rock to hold a team together.

It was just one game, but for 89 minutes of play, Matheson showed that she might have found her groove again.

The Royals managed without Christen Press (and Kelley O’Hara for now)

When you have Christen Press on a roster, she is always going to be one of the biggest focuses for your team in the attack. She is smart, fast, and sees the game in a way that leaves defenders befuddled about how she can hit the angle she did.

But despite not having Press for this event, and not having O’Hara for this game, the Royals managed to find 3 goals and come from 3-1 score to get a point before the 90 minutes were up.

While having O’Hara would make the team better in the defensive third, we’ll see when she makes it back to the pitch as she’s out against Sky Blue with a left quad injury.

The T may be silent but the goals aren’t for Tziarra King

Look, it’s too early for me to say this, but I want it to be true, so I’m going to put it into the universe and hope I’m right.

King could be one of the next great NWSL cultivated stars. She’s a dynamic player who has a nose for the goal, has a great head on her shoulders based on her interviews and her Twitter account, and she is fun.

The NWSL needs more “homegrown” stars. King has all the makings of being one, given the way this event is. Sure, her minutes might be managed, but her future is going to be bright.

The Most Noble Order of the Lioness

And now for that most special time where we must speak of the nominations for The Most Noble Order of the Lioness.

This week the honor of nomination goes to Tziarra King. The first-ever, first-round pick for the Royals played a great 20 minutes for the club.

And with that nomination, King becomes the first nomination to the Order for the 2020 “season.”

Please join us on Saturday July 4th, as Utah Royals FC take on Sky Blue FC. The last time the two squared off the Royals got the 3-0 win.